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Poster: JPL4192 Date: Jul 25, 2004 5:21am
Forum: etree Subject: MiniDisc Recordings

First off I just want to say I appreciate anyone putting recordings up on this site. I know it takes a lot of time.

I have a question about MiniDisc recordings being listed as "lossless." Is this technically accurate? MiniDiscs record using the ATRAC compression algorithm (http://www.minidisc.org/aes_atrac.html) and while loss should be minimal, there is still a loss. I'm not looking to argue that there is loss in all digital recordings. I'm specifically questioning the loss in quality when compressing a digital recording (whether its MP3, WMA, ATRAC etc.)

Any comments appreciated.

Kind Regards,
JPL

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Poster: J.B. Nicholson Date: Jul 25, 2004 4:19pm
Forum: etree Subject: MiniDisc audio is proprietary and lossy.

No, MiniDisc uses the proprietary lossy compression scheme you named. MiniDiscs are not useful for archiving for this reason and because most people's audio MiniDiscs have to be recorded in real time (unlike data CDs, which are useful for short-term archiving, which can be burned far faster than real time).

The loss in data is like Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and Speex in that these algorithms all throw out data which, it is believed, you won't hear when you play back the data stream.

If you're looking for lossless archive-quality storage, I recommend FLAC because it is free software (which will *really* matter down the road). It also works quite well and can hold a lot of other data to describe the audio in addition to the audio itself. I hear that a future MiniDisc will be useful as a data disc and will hold uncompressed audio. Perhaps this will make MiniDiscs more suitable for high-quality recording and archiving.

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Poster: stevegolfer66 Date: Jul 26, 2004 10:12am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: MiniDisc audio is proprietary and lossy.

No, MiniDisc uses the proprietary lossy compression scheme you named. MiniDiscs are not useful for archiving for this reason

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Although I can't speak with respect to the rules and regulations of etree, I personally don't agree if this statement is rendering an opinion. As I stated in my direct response, if the only sources are a good sounding minidisc recording with good mics from FOB with low crowd noise versus a non-compressed 48kHz back of the theater recording using crappy mics, then I'd go for the MD recording 100% of the time. MD can render good sounding results, whereas MP3 has muddy bass pretty much 100% of the time.

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and because most people's audio MiniDiscs have to be recorded in real time (unlike data CDs, which are useful for short-term archiving, which can be burned far faster than real time).

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This is an inconvenience and is not unlike the vast majority of recording mediums anyway because of copy protection schemes that prevent true digital to digital rendering. So this is not a unique issue to minidisc.

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The loss in data is like Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and Speex in that these algorithms all throw out data which, it is believed, you won't hear when you play back the data stream.

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Disagree. MP3 sounds ALOT worse than good recorded minidisc. Again, the difference is that minidisc ATRAC recordings are typically the original recording, whereas MP3 are usually compressed versions of an original. I want the BEST sound AND highest quality original recording possible, regardless of what was used to obtain the recording. If a minidisc original sounds better than a non-compressed 48kHz recording, then it IS better, IMHO.

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If you're looking for lossless archive-quality storage, I recommend FLAC because it is free software (which will *really* matter down the road). It also works quite well and can hold a lot of other data to describe the audio in addition to the audio itself.

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With all due respect, this is a silly response. FLAC has nothing to do with the question. It is the compression scheme used to make big files about 50% smaller, without losing any data in the compression process. MP3 is not lossless compression. It has nothing to do with whether a recording is orininally recording using ATRAC or non-compressed data streaming. I master my minidisc recordings and use FLAC to distribute them, just like everybody else that uses non-compressed data streaming.

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I hear that a future MiniDisc will be useful as a data disc and will hold uncompressed audio. Perhaps this will make MiniDiscs more suitable for high-quality recording and archiving.

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This is definitely true.

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Poster: Cabbage Date: Jul 25, 2004 2:36pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: MiniDisc Recordings

I guess technically it's compressed but they definitely don't sound like crap like mp3 or wma's do.

I recorded Jimmie's Chicken Shack at the 9:30 Club a few years ago. I played the recording of their built in DAT and the one off my MiniDisc side by side and I couldn't hear the difference.

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Poster: stevegolfer66 Date: Jul 26, 2004 9:51am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: MiniDisc Recordings

I use minidisc and I have mixed emotions. My basic philosophy is simple, if you can't hear a difference then there IS no difference. A good sounding minidisc recording does in fact sound pretty good on any stereo system, whereas MP3s, in my opinion sound basically crappy on them all. I know there are people that disagree, but my response is 'cest la vie'...everyone has an opinion.

By any measure, the quality of a recording will be a function of many factors, not the least of which is mic quality and mic positioning.

So, which is better? The good sounding ATRAC compressed minidisc recording, or the 48kHz perfectly preserved audience recording from a million rows back. Sorry, I go with the former because the end result is what matters. I do very much believe the guy who responded that his A vs. B comparison yielded no sonic differences.

Having said all of this, I also believe that IF there are better sounding recordings that are mastered with lossless compression schemes, then that recording should not be compromised by compressing to a lossy format. The difference is that the original recording is available in non-compressed format, as is the 'original' mini-disc recording.

Personally, I am 'punting' on this issue because I've pre-ordered a new Sony Hi-MD which does, in fact, record with non-compressed recording scheme's...apparently 1M of information can be saved onto a single Hi-MD disc, which holds about 1 1/2 hours of music. I love the compactness of mini-disc, but the truly wonderful feature is low battery consumption. There isn't a great power draw from mini-disc and, piggybacking AAs on top of the internal battery (as is typical of most Sharp machines and will be available on the new Sony Hi-MD machines) makes for nearly limitless power supply using readily available and INEXPENSIVE alternatives. Perfect for the festival goers that want hours and hours of recording pleasure.

BUT, I still subscribe to the notion that none of it matters if my ears like the sound of the recording.

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Poster: glenn Date: Jul 30, 2004 6:23am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: MiniDisc Recordings

Minidisc cannot be copied without generational loss... including audible artifacts like pops buzzes, dropouts...

you may not notice it on the first generation or more... but it's there, lossy trading pollutes the gene pool.

If you are going to distribute minidisc recordings, it would be best to first ' freeze ' them into a losssless format first, from your master, hopefully... then the loss will only be from your Master>lossless-format-copy generation.

and then hopefully only if there is no genuine lossless version extant...
quote: "

With all due respect, this is a silly response. FLAC has nothing to do with the question. It is the compression scheme used to make big files about 50% smaller, without losing any data in the compression process. MP3 is not lossless compression. It has nothing to do with whether a recording is orininally recording using ATRAC or non-compressed data streaming. I master my minidisc recordings and use FLAC to distribute them, just like everybody else that uses non-compressed data streaming. "
Response: yes, exactly.. if the best version of a show is minidisc, the ideal way to distribute it is by freezing it in to lossless form: shn, flac, wav, whatever, preventing further loss and eliminating generational error.

This post was modified by glenn on 2004-07-30 13:23:03